“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The date is unknown for the following article.
Central High School (Dr. Carl Safran)
• 930 13th Avenue S.W.
• Built: 1893-1894
• Architect: R. G. Gordon. By 1906 Gordon had thirty-two years experience in all branches of architecture in three continents and New Zealand and a stint as architect to Melbourne (Australia) City Council and Melbourne Tramways Trust.
• Contractor: McDonald & Roy – new to Calgary in 1907.
• Original cost: $68,000
• Construction materials: Rough-cut sandstone from the Shagannappi area.
• Architectural style: Richardsonian Romanesque. The newspaper of the day described the massive structure as "Elizabethan in character."
• Original interior details: Two storeys, a basement and a finished attic. Eight classrooms. Hardwood floors and 12 ½ foot ceilings. Indoor plumbing and a coal burning heating plant. The Daily News of July 1907 described the "very handsome, well equipped structure." " In the centre is a handsome tower 72 feet in height. At either end of the building are entrances to the first floor, one for the youths, the other for the maidens. A bold porch is constructed over each entrance. At the back of the porch is a vestibule with swinging doors which open to a staircase hall inside. From this wide corridors give access to four classrooms, each capable of seating 48 pupils. On this floor are the principal’s room and the library. Close to the entrance, cloakrooms are provided. The second floor has four classrooms, a typewriter room and separate rooms for male and female teachers. The space in the roof is utilized for a large assembly hall capable of accommodating 500 scholars." The basement included the heating system, washrooms, two large manual training rooms and a girl’s room.
• Teacher James Short organized the city’s first high school department in 1889.
• In 1903, about 79 of the 1,020 pupils enrolled in Calgary public schools were high school students. That year, the senior grades at Central School on 5th Avenue were transferred to a separate building on 7th Avenue (behind the present day old city hall) to establish the city’s first separate high school known as "Sleepy Hollow."
• By the spring of 1907 the public school board realized that Sleepy Hollow could not accommodate the growing number of elementary students who wanted to continue their education, so they voted to construct Calgary’s first purpose built high school. A block of crown reserve land located between 13th and 14th Avenue at 9th Street S.W. was selected as the site.
• In July 1907 the board awarded the building contract to the lowest of four tenders even though the successful bid was $18,000 more than the board’s original $50,000 estimate.
• The board erected a temporary one-storey wooden school on the property until the new building was completed.
• Calgary Collegiate Institute opened in September 1908 with 120 students and 4 university educated staff. From the beginning, the emphasis was on academics. The principal A.C.Newcombe, taught Latin and history. E.L Hill, who later became a member of Calgary’s first public library board and first director of Edmonton Public Library, taught science. Walter Scott - mathematics and Miss E.J.McPhail - modern languages.
• Enrolment continued to increase and in 1911 a four-room sandstone addition -in the Scottish Baronial style - was built on the north side. In September 1912 when CCI took responsibility for grades 9 to 12, there were 274 students and 12 teachers.
• By 1913 enrolment had risen to 328 and three classes were transferred to King George School. After several moves this overflow of students resulted in the 1929 construction of Crescent Heights High School.
• In the 1920s Calgary Collegiate Institute became known as Central High School.
• In 1940 a gymnasium designed in the Egyptian revival style was added on the north side. That year a voluntary cadet corps was organized and in 1941 rifle ranges were installed. In 1942 the cadet corps became affiliated with the Calgary Highlanders.
• Declining enrolment led to the closure of Central High in June 1965. It was replaced by Central Memorial High School completed in 1969. Along with the school library the new school absorbed many of Central High’s traditions, including the school motto Lux Sit (let there be light), the team name of Rams and the Analecta yearbook first published in June 1911. Both Calgary Public Library and the Glenbow Library have yearbook collections for Central dating back to 1911.
• Central High’s distinguished graduates include Chief Justice C.C. McLaurin, former Premier Peter Lougheed, Rhodes Scholar and Liberal member of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly Sheldon Chumir and Dr. George Stanley.
• Between 1965 and 1973 the old school served as a temporary home for elementary students from James Short School which was also being phased out.
• Renamed the Dr. Carl Safran Special Class School in 1972 it served as a special education facility until 1986 when the Calgary Board of Education re-commissioned it as an adult education centre. The name honoured native Calgarian, Dr. Safran who was Chief Superintendent of the public school board 1972-1977, an educational psychologist and respected pioneer in the field of special education.
• In 1993 the city’s Heritage Advisory Board presented the public school board with a Community Heritage Plaque to commemorate the building’s historical significance.
• Since 1996 the entire building has been leased from the Calgary Board of Education by a private school, Rundle College Junior High.
“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared May 6, 2003.
Then: Central High School
• Calgary Collegiate Institute, renamed Central High in the 1920s, opened in September 1908 with a student enrolment of 120. The massive structure, designed by architect R.G. Gordon, was built of rough-cut sandstone from the Shagannappi quarries at a cost of $68,000. Construction of a four-room addition was completed in 1911 and, in 1940, an Egyptian revival-style addition was built on the north side to accommodate a gymnasium. Declining enrolment led to closure in 1965*. Between 1965 and 1973, the old school served as a temporary home for elementary students from James Short School, which was also being phased out. Renamed the Dr. Carl Safran Special Class School in 1972, it served as a special education facility until 1986 when the Calgary Board of Education recommissioned it as an adult education centre. The name honoured native Calgarian Dr. Safran, who was chief superintendent of the public school board from 1972 to 1977, an educational psychologist and respected pioneer in the field of special education.
*Erroneous information has been removed
Now: Rundle College Junior High
• In 1993, the city's heritage advisory board presented the public school board with a Community Heritage Plaque to commemorate the building's historical significance. Since 1996, the entire building has been leased from the CBE by Rundle College, a private school with three campuses and four schools, including the former Central High. Rundle Junior High has about 216 students and 22 staff members.